Literacy @ RJ Grey

RJ Grey Ideas for Summer Reading

posted Jul 5, 2017, 10:04 AM by Joan Celebi

Looking for something good to read this summer? Check out this list of current titles, compiled by RJ Grey's librarian, Ms. Charpentier.  Categories include All Around Great Reads, Fun Beach Reads, Mysteries for a Rainy Day, Books to Get Your Heart Racing, Books to Grow Your Mind, Staff Picks, and Catch Up on the Series.  There are so many awesome-sounding books on this list, I don't know where to begin!

*Please note, this is NOT required reading!*

If you read a book on this list and you really like it, email Ms. Charpentier or me and let us know!  If you would like to suggest a book for next year's list, please tell us -- suggestions from students are always the best!  

Happy summer, and happy summer reading!

Summer Reading Programs at the Acton and Boxborough Libraries!

posted Jun 7, 2017, 5:27 AM by Joan Celebi

Check out the summer reading programs being offered by the Acton Memorial Library and the Sargent Memorial Library.  Fun for all ages - enjoy!

Message from the Principal: Summer Reading!

posted Jun 7, 2017, 5:15 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Jun 7, 2017, 5:16 AM ]

Mr. Shen shared this message in his weekly newsletter this week.  With the school year about to come to a close, it's time to think about summer reading!  

"For those of you whose children might be open to some continued pleasure reading over the summer (it's coming up quickly), two resources for you: (1) our RJ Grey Library website includes a number of links to book lists and search engines that provide suggestions based on specific interests; and (2) the High School has released its updated Summer Reading List (click here to view) that it encourages all of its students, including rising 9th grade students (those are your kids, 8th grade parents!), to look at if they're stuck for suggestions.  Please note that the High School does not have any required summer reading for 9th grade English, but they do want to encourage students to find something to enjoy and read.  They also want to note that a number of the titles on the list are ones that families could read together."

Listening skills reinforce reading skills

posted May 19, 2017, 10:01 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated May 19, 2017, 10:05 AM ]

Did you know that listening skills and reading skills have a lot in common?  
We can apply the same skills we use with reading to radio broadcasts, podcasts, and more!  Try it out with these engaging stories from National Public Radio, chosen for junior high and high school students by Listenwise, an educational organization devoted to helping students build their listening skills.  

PB&J in NBA Locker Rooms

The Challenges of Creating a Recyclable K-Cup

Debate: Should We Make Changes to Human DNA?

Record Breaking Trip in Space

Debate: Should All Websites Be Treated Equally?

The Cost of Presidential Travel

Debate:  Will the Circus Survive?

Debate: Should the Government Be Able to Access a Criminal's Phone?

Popular articles this week

posted May 19, 2017, 9:53 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated May 19, 2017, 9:55 AM ]

 Do you like video games?  Are you interested in wars or combat?  Would you like to ride in a self-FLYING taxi??  Check out these articles!

Tumbleseed Is an Ingenious Game—If You Can Manage Not to Die - click on the "War and Peace" section (under News) for well written stories on war-related topics:


posted Mar 31, 2017, 7:22 AM by Joan Celebi

Scrabble is a great game for practicing spelling, planning, and strategic thinking.  Today was Scrabble Day in reading class!  In addition to the rules of Scrabble, we talked about some tips and tricks for playing your best game.  Here are just a few:

1. Don't just leave your letters in your tray and stare at them hoping to think of a word to put down on the board.  Shuffle the letters around, either on your tray or spread out on the table in front of you.  This will help you see so many more possibilities for words!  

2. Look at the letters that are available on the board BEFORE you start to make words with your letters.  That way you won't waste time and effort coming up with the perfect word, only to find that there is no place for it on the board!

3. You can always add an ending to a word that is already on the board.  For example, add an -s to make a noun plural.  Or add an -ed or -ing to a verb.  

4. Try to make words that contain at least 4 letters!  The longer the words on the board, the more options you will have for placing other words on the board as the game progresses.

If you don't own a scrabble game, there is an online version you can play for free.  Just search online for Scrabble.  Have fun and good luck!

Fake or Real?

posted Mar 15, 2017, 7:08 AM by Joan Celebi

Recently, students in reading classes spent a lot of time learning all about fake news on the internet.  What is it?  Who writes it, and why?  What problems does it pose for ourselves individually, and us as a nation?  And most importantly, how can you tell if a news item that you see on the internet is real or fake?

After some exploration and discussion, we came up with some telltale things to look for when deciding whether a news article or video might be fake:
  • Does the domain name (URL) of the website look legitimate?
  • Does the author's name appear with the article?
  • Does the website contain informational pages such as an "About" page, Contact Information, etc.?
  • What kinds of ads appear on the website?
  • How is the headline written?  Are there capitalized words, exclamation points, and sensationalist language?
  • The 10 second rule:  if you stop and think about what the headline is saying for 10 seconds, does it make sense?
We also spent time practicing how to check whether a story is fake or real:
  • Check other known reputable websites to see whether they are reporting the same story.
  • Check the official website of the person, company, or organization in the article to see if the story is discussed there.
Please share these tips with your friends, neighbors, and family so that they too can avoid being tricked by fake news!

World Read Aloud Day is Coming Up!

posted Jan 27, 2017, 8:26 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Jan 27, 2017, 8:26 AM ]

Did you know there is a World Read Aloud Day every year in February?  I just heard about it!  This year, World Read Aloud Day will be Thursday, February 16th.  

Reading aloud isn't just for little kids or bedtime!  Reading aloud for 7th and 8th graders can take the form of sharing aloud news items they find interesting, reading or singing lyrics along with a favorite song, and much more.  Older brothers and sisters can read aloud to their younger siblings - which can be lots of fun and enhances everyone's literacy skills in the process.  And many families either already have, or are rediscovering, the traditional read-aloud time -- but with books for older students.  Wonder, the Percy Jackson books, and the Harry Potter series are some that my students have told me they have enjoyed reading aloud with their families.  

How about audiobooks?  They are another form of reading aloud / having a book read to you.  Audiobooks have exploded in popularity in recent years.  Check out the great selection of audiobooks, in many forms (CDs, PlayAways, Hoopla, etc.), available at your local library - all for FREE!

If you haven't read anything aloud with your family or friends in a while, why wait until February 16th?  Grab a book, magazine, comic book, whatever you like - and start reading aloud today!

Thanksgiving Fun Facts

posted Nov 23, 2016, 5:43 AM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 23, 2016, 5:43 AM ]

Did you know ...?
Wild turkeys can run 20 miles an hour!
Ben Franklin wanted the national bird to be the turkey - not the eagle!
Only male turkeys gobble.  Female turkeys cackle!
Every year, the U.S. President pardons a turkey.  Last year's pardoned turkey got to go to Disney World!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Check out for balanced info on controversial topics

posted Nov 16, 2016, 5:27 PM by Joan Celebi   [ updated Nov 16, 2016, 5:28 PM ]

This week my 8th grade reading classes practiced some During Reading strategies using articles from  We had some very lively debates!  It's a great website that presents a variety of controversial topics in an organized and balanced way.  Each "pro" and "con" is numbered and explained clearly so that readers can decide where they stand on the issues, with the confidence of knowing that they've considered all the facts!  This is a great resource not only for students, but for anyone who wants to learn more about today's controversial topics.  

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